Dubai: If England don’t do it now, they’ll kick themselves forever for there is likely to be no better chance for them to get to a final for the first time in 55 years - and win it.
England have progressed through Euro 2020 very nicely indeed and are in the semifinal where they meet Denmark tonight. Incredibly, the Three Lions have not conceded a single goal in all five matches they have played so far. That is truly impressive. They are the first team since Italy at the 1990 FIFA World Cup to have achieved five successive clean sheets from the start of a World Cup or European Championship. And as we all know, a strong defence is key to the success of any team. Well England’s defence is water tight.
They also have a brilliant team spirit and a deadly strike partnership which has hit form at the right time. Sterling has been doing his part since the group stages but now Kane has awoken from his slumber and is back amongst the goals. There is more to come too what with the likes of Grealish, Foden, Rashford and Calvert Lewin hardly even featuring – but we all know how good those four are. In Phillips and Rice England have a robust engine room while the back four have been superb, especially Shaw. There was competition for the left back position in the squad but with solid displays and three assists he has made it his own. Maguire’s return has added aerial power as well as authority and behind them all is Pickford who is in the form of his life.
England have got to several semifinals – Italia 90, Euro 96, 2018 World Cup, 2019 UEFA Nations League – and failed each time. Lessons must have been learnt in those painful nights and surely now is their chance to go all the way. They’ll have the backing of 60,000 fans at Wembley tonight and they’ll be roaring the team on. Having fans back in stadiums makes such a difference as players raise their games but we can’t write Denmark out of this equation – they have also had a brilliant tournament. Everyone thought they’d flop following the Eriksen incident but it has brought the team closer together and they can be a threat. They’ll be dreaming of winning the competition just as much as England - the Danes last won it in 1992 - and England will have to produce another disciplined display to reach the final where Italy awaits.
Who knows, if it all works out, we’ll have something new to talk about instead of always reminiscing about 1966. It really is about time.